Eat your greens

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As my cabbages have started to heart up nicely, I’ve been trimming off some of the outer leaves to let more light and air around the plants and give them a bit more space to grow.

The trimmings could well go into the compost heap, or provide a quick snack for the chickens, but in an effort not to waste anything I’ve grown I thought I’d concoct them into some culinary delights.  A quick look on the internet confirmed they were, in fact, edible, so excited about harvesting something other than lettuce and radish from the garden, I set to work gathering the leaves.

The brassica bed

The brassica bed

As they have been fully exposed to light, the leaves are dark green, coarse and more strongly flavoured than cabbage. They also happen to be rich in vitamins A, B, C and K, folic acid and dietary fibre.  Apparently they contain no cholesterol and almost no fat, and are an excellent source of natural antioxidant. With all that goodness going on, we’d be fools not to try them!

On bringing my haul into the kitchen, the other half raised an eyebrow and questioned, “What are they?”

“These…” I replied proudly.. “are dinner!”

Being free from insects, and having never even sniffed a pesticide spray, the cabbage just needed a quick wash to remove any surface dirt. I then cut off the stalks and finely shredded the leaves.

A quick steam and a sauté with some finely chopped, fried onions just before serving, and Voila!  A healthy addition to the Sunday lunch vegetables: which went down a treat.

Apparently you can also lightly boil the leaves then wrap them around fillings to make stuffed cabbage rolls, or even add shredded leaves to a stir fry.

Spring green soup. Soup made from the outer brassica leaves

Spring green soup. Soup made from the outer brassica leaves

We have plenty, so I decided to turn some more of my leafy offerings into a hearty soup. True, it’s a bit whiffy whilst cooking, and the finished product ends up a violent shade of green, but it’s actually quite delicious – and freezes well. The rest of the family are not quite convinced so it looks like I’m souping it alone for the moment.

I’m sure to have the last laugh though. When I’m a size zero, with the complexion of a nineteen year old, they’ll soon be in the queue…

This one appeared in the Hinckley Times on 20 June 2013

The Hinckley Times 20 June 2013

The Hinckley Times 20 June 2013

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